Tag Archives: Second Coming

Indulgence is Not a Worthy ‘Reward’

22 Jul

Ethel Mae woke up in the middle of the night and decided to get a drink of water. 

But on the way to the refrigerator, she passed the candy dish and grabbed a butterscotch candy. Then on the way to the cupboard for a glass, she opened the snack drawer and grabbed a Hostess Twinkie. Then she took her glass over to the refrigerator to get some chilled water and stopped off at the cookie jar for some peanut butter cookiesFinally, she picked up the pitcher and poured herself some water. And grabbed the leftover pie on the top shelf before she shut the refrigerator door.

After munching on her treats, she headed back to bed and crawled under the covers; but she accidentally woke up her husband, Harry, who said he felt thirsty. 

“I’ll get it!” Ethel Mae said … getting up with a big smile. 

I can’t say I’ve had a middle-of-the-night food binge like that, but when I went on a food program to get healthy and lose weight, I soon realized how indulgent I can be.

John Bloom at DesiringGod.org says, “We are all self-indulgers. The whole lot of us. Let’s just admit it upfront and help each other fight!”

Indulgence is foolish and selfish.

And sinful!

When we indulge rather than fight or abstain from “the passions of the flesh,” we’re only inviting more problems.

[I’m not talking about the planned-for dessert or a well-chosen and hopefully healthy occasional “treat.” There’s a difference related to motive.]

We know indulgence when we see it. Indulgence puts a damper on our desire to please the Lord and is contrary to wisely stewarding our bodies.

Indulgence can be heinous, but it can be subtle too. It can even be a form of idolatry. The enemy of our soul can even deceive us into believing indulgence is a good thing… a REWARD.

What? A reward?

Yes, I discovered this trickery while deep into my healthy eating plan. I proudly marked off a week of staying “on program” and said to myself,

You deserve a treat!”

So I started with an extra “allowable” food bar (which is really a candy bar dressed up in protein).

  • Then a few animal crackers.
  • Then a brownie.
  • Then an ice cream sandwich.

Soon, I was totally out of control.

I was living out what my nutritionist says,

“You have the disease of ‘MORE!'”

It’s a “heart” disease, and escalating indulgence is one of the clues I have it.

We need to be careful when we equate “deserving” with indulging. Indulgence—too much of a good thing—can be a first step on a fresh journey away from self-control. 

That’s how subtle this form of idolatry is. The thing we indulge in—in my case, sugar or overly-starchy foods—can become a driving “master” in our lives; we can find our indulgence addictive and destructive.

Our emotions can trick us.

Bloom says, “At the moment of indulging, it doesn’t feel like an enemy. It feels like a reward that makes us happy. … But after indulging, defeat hangs like a heavy yoke around the neck of our souls.”

I thought indulgence was my “reward” for obedience and wise choices. But that was a lie—a false promise built on a false premise.

My reward should have been the joy found in pleasing the Lord.

Rather than the joy of fulfilling a temporary craving, I should have focused on eternal truths like the one found in Luke 9:23-25:

… “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me.  For what does it profit a man if he gains the whole world and loses or forfeits himself?”

The truth is, indulgence should not be part of my life in ANY form—pride and self-glory, greed, gluttony or any lust of the flesh.

I should be “awake and have control,” not be sleepy and indulgent!

My body is God’s dwelling place, and I am set apart for the praise of His glory.

Being “set apart” is being sanctified and holy, and those words are incongruous with the word “indulgent.”

But I have to confess. Sometimes it’s just plain hard not to indulge.

That’s when I need an eternal focus. I must remember my real reward is the “prize” awaiting me from the Lord at His return.

As Jesus said in Revelation 22:12: “Look, I am coming soon! My reward is with me, and I will give to each person according to what they have done.”

And His reward will be a lot more satisfying than a middle-of-the-night food spree.

Do you struggle with indulging in sinful attitudes and behaviors? What is the lie you are believing, or the false promise you’re embracing? 

 – Dawn

Graphic courtesy of cohdra-Morguefile

 

 

Last Words Worth Remembering

14 Mar

Death isn’t funny… but last words can be. I recently read some humorous “last words,” supposedly uttered right before tragedy struck. Just imagine how some of these words might have deadly or hurtful consequences!

  • I’ll bet I can pass this car …
  • Trust me, I know exactly what I’m doing …
  • This tribe looks peaceful …
  • Don’t worry, there’s more of us than them …
  • Nice doggie …
  • Now let’s see; which wire was I supposed to cut? …
A person’s last words can reveal a lot. The last words of some famous people are worth remembering; some, not-so-much. *

“All my possessions,” Queen Elizabeth I said, “for a moment of time.”

Socialist Karl Marx said, “Go on. Get out! Last words are for fools who haven’t said enough.”Grave_NothingFurtherToSay

When actress Joan Crawford heard her housekeeper praying aloud, she cursed and said, “Don’t you dare ask God to help me.”

Edgar Allan Poe, however, prayed, “Lord, help my poor soul.”

Dramatist and author Victor Hugo said, “I see black light.”

But inventor Thomas Edison said, “It’s very beautiful over there.”

Preachers and motivational speakers often say we should consider our death if we want to live the best life. There’s an element of truth – if we remember the brevity of life and the length of eternity, we’ll likely make better choices.

So I started wondering … if I “finish well,” living for Christ with all my heart, what would I LIKE to say at the end of my life?

I’d love to gather my family around and say:

  • “It’s worth it … living for Jesus.”
  • or, “Life passes so quickly; be sure your priorities are straight.”
  • or maybe, “It’s only a short step into the arms of God.”
  • and to some, I’d say with tears, “Do you know my Jesus?”

What would you say, if you had the time to think about it? And what would you want to be doing and saying if death caught you unaware?

Jesus had some last words on the cross that are filled with meaning. These words are part of the foundation of the Christian faith.

Jesus cried out, “It Is Finished!”(John 19:30). In the Greek, the ItIsFinished_Sepiaphrase is simply tetelestai… a work completed. In John 4:34, Jesus said he lived to do the will of the Father and “to finish His work.” When He considered the cross, He admitted, “for this cause came I unto this hour” (John 12:27).

“It is finished” was a cry of fulfillment … a shout of triumph.

The book of Revelation also has some last words from the Alpha and Omega to His waiting church (Revelation 22:6-21) – words meant to motivate us toward faith, faithfulness and obedience. Jesus finished with a promise: “Surely I am coming soon.”

Now those are last words worth remembering!

* http://www.2spare.com/item_61729.aspx and http://coolquotescollection.com/Last/3

– Dawn

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